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60 suspected gang members arrested in Canada

Canadian police arrested more than 60 suspected members of a criminal gang on Wednesday in a series of dawn raids in and around Toronto, in a crackdown on smuggling drugs and illegal firearms.
/ Source: Reuters

Canadian police arrested more than 60 suspected members of a criminal gang on Wednesday in a series of dawn raids in and around Toronto, in a crackdown on smuggling drugs and illegal firearms.

Chief William Blair told a news conference the coordinated raids were the culmination of an operation that had been under way for 11 months. He said the arrests and confiscation of drugs worth more than one million Canadian dollars would hurt a gang responsible for much violent crime.

"The seizure of these drugs and the arrest of those responsible for importing and trafficking them, we hope will deal a significant blow to the source of misery in so many of our most vulnerable neighborhoods," Blair said.

Blair said those arrested included the alleged leadership and other members of the so-called "Driftwood Crips" gang. He hoped the arrests would encourage previously intimidated witnesses to crimes to come forward.

Police said that the operation, dubbed "Project Kryptic," was still under way and would have more details of firearms seized later in the day.

Although Canada has been portrayed as relatively free from gun crime in films such as Michael Moore's "Bowling for Columbine," Toronto has been shaken by headline-grabbing shootings in recent years.

In the past three weeks, a 15-year-old student was shot to death in a city high school and a 40-year-old man was killed in a drive-by shooting.

Year-to-date, police have tallied 16 fatal shootings in Toronto, four more than at the same date in 2006. An additional 53 have been injured.